Monday, April 27, 2009


Trying too keep a positive outlook from here - no point dwelling on the past. Having said that I'm keen not to get too hung up on the goal time for Perth

I returned on Saturday evening after a week of gastronomic indulgence in Sydney, with 7-8 weeks of full training before taper for Perth. I guess I'd like to think that most of what I'd been doing before Canberra was right, and it was mainly tactical error, and poor mental toughness on the day which caused the poor result.

So I'll be back into it this coming week. I'll hope to put in a bit more total distance to help the endurance, hopefully fit in a second 20k+ run at some point most weeks (and push that total mileage up)

This week (self flagellation week) 63k@4:23

Tuesday 8.2k@4:30 - treadmill set on (very) hilly mode - self punishment workout
Wed 10.2k@4:16 - around sydney harbour in light rain - got caught up racing another guy for about 4k (4:13/4:02/3:52/3:47)
Thurs 12.3k@4:19 - similar course - sprinted the stairs at Harbour Bridge
Sun 32k@4:25 - 10-30k section at 4:20s. Forgot that the Perth 32k was on today or I might have run it. Headed out early and actually passed the start line 5min before the race (but by this time I'd run 15k already). Ran back on the course and at the end of my run stopped to watch the leaders go by. Legs really suffered in this run.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Hmmm... not sure whether I should put the optimistic or pessimistic spin on this one - both have been through my mind today.

Preparation went OK - Mon, Wed, Fri 8k runs at some speed, flew in Friday night, slight delay on the plane (flew with the Dockers - Pav and Sandi go 1st class, the rest economy!)

Pasta dinner the night before, slept OK, no toilet issues like last year. Started near the front after being stuck back last year - actually front line (?first mistake). It was cool although there was a nasty wind at times.

No excuses - I simply went too fast and was cooked at 27k. I then had a decision to struggle on, drop to a 3:10 finish and have beaten up legs needing long recovery, or cut my losses and pull out, with the ability to slip straight back into training. I stopped once, changed my mind, ran on another km, stopped again, changed my mind, ran on another km, then decided to stop for good.

Walking back I was rueing the decision - 5 road and 2 off road marathons in the past and I have always finished, family here, should I have pushed on?

Splits -
5k 20:19
10k 40:53 (20:34)
15k 61:48 (20:55)
20k 82:48 (21:00)
(HM 87:XX)
25k 104:07 (21:19)

stopped about 28k.

Felt pretty embarrassed talking to the family afterwards, especially as I felt physically fine. I think Tiff was more upset than I was as she has seen the 16 weeks of training I've put in. I walked about 8k over the rest of the day sightseeing (as there were 5 of us I refused to take the taxi and walked from place to place as self imposed punishment)

I think I suffered today from setting my sights too high (perhaps falsely buoyed by the HM result), and being too rigid in my goal.

Oh well - only a running race!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taper madness

I've been feeling depressed, niggly, sinusy and without confidence in the last few days.

I've come across the following article online, which describes it perfectly

Taper Madness

As the support team for a Marathoner you are entering a very tricky period. Your Marathoner has been training hard through the summer and into the fall in preparation for the big day. The hard work is behind and TAPER MADNESS is ahead.

Marathon training is a stair-step type process where muscles are broken down for several weeks and then an easier week is thrown in for recovery. Finally three weeks before the Marathon, one last long run is completed and it’s time for recovery. The last three weeks are a period of descending running mileage. This period allows the body to more fully recover and rest in preparation for the Big Day, it is called the Taper.

This all sounds well and good, however, the Taper is a period of great anxiety for many Marathoners (first-timers and veterans alike). Over the course of training for a Marathon, an athlete becomes accustomed to running many miles each week and constantly feeling the rush of endorphin driven highs and the persistent fatigue and soreness of effort. The athlete becomes somewhat addicted to these emotions and considers them normal.

The Tapering Marathoner will be irritable, anxious, nervous, overly emotional, short-tempered, restless, tired, cranky, depressed (even more than normal). Sounds like a great three weeks doesn’t it? It is not unlike the addict going cold turkey. This is a span of time where most Marathoners go a bit crazy. For most it passes after Marathon day. Of course there are the post-marathon blues, but that’s the subject for another day.

The first week is not too bad. It’s really like most “easy weeks” following a twenty mile run. Recovery is critical and the mileage is not dropping by a large amount. Nerves may begin to fray but the best is yet to come – trust me!

During the first part of Taper Madness you will hear about every small ache and pain and how it may be a broken leg or torn ligament or some other traumatic injury. Every twinge becomes a reason to think about postponing the marathon effort. Every sneeze, sniffle, cough or pimple becomes a life-threatening virus or infection. Tight hammies, inflamed ITB, tweaked Achilles, plantar fascitis, black toenails, bloody nipples, chafing, and this is just during breakfast.

The second week starts the deep depression. The tapering Marathoner starts to really miss running. There are no more double-digit runs before the marathon for most. The longest run for the next two weeks will be 8 miles. Just 8 miles, how many used “just” and “8 miles” in the same sentence prior to training for the marathon. The body is really starting to recover and therefore has more energy than needed. Therefore, the Marathoner becomes restless. No “extra” running is allowed. The tapering Marathoner can feel the fitness draining out of their body. Ask them, they will tell you, they are getting slower every day! This is not happening but the feelings are real. Physiologically, there is nothing but positives from a 3 week taper prior to running a marathon, however, it feels quite the opposite. This restlessness often becomes frustration and a very short-tempered athlete. Understand that this frustration will be projected at anyone and everyone within reach. It’s nothing personal; it’s the lack of mileage talking.

So it’s now seven days before the Marathon. The last 8 mile run is done and all that’s left is 3 easy short runs and the BIG EVENT. For the first time Marathoner and some experienced folk, this week is nothing but self-doubt and worry. “I’ll never make it. My foot hurts. My nose is running. I’m not ready. My last 20 miler sucked, I’ll die out there. I’m getting fat and slow. My shoes are dead, my shoes are too small, my shoes are too big,” These are some of the things going through the mind of a Marathoner in their last few days. Not to mention the nervous energy that is overflowing. Not to mention that there may be a couple of extra pounds after cutting back on the running for 3 weeks. Not to mention that the trips to the bathroom are increasing geometrically as the hydration dance starts in earnest. Many find concentrating on anything other than the upcoming race difficult. By the way, Marathoners in the final days before a race often make poor babysitters.

Two nights before the marathon are critical to the marathoner. This night is probably the last chance for a good nights sleep. The night before is typically restless and worrisome (what if the alarm doesn’t go off). A sleepless night preceding a marathon will not have a dramatic impact on chances for success. Adrenaline will offset missing that night’s sleep and get the Marathoner through the race. The morning of the marathon is all about getting some food, using the bathroom and getting to the race. My suggestion, don’t get in the way.

I am sure your marathoner appreciates all the support they have received during the training program. The last few weeks are critical to a successful marathon effort. Please understand that the emotional wreck will disappear after the marathon. The Taper can be especially difficult and frustrating for everyone. The good news, it ends with the race.

I hope this sheds some light on TAPER MADNESS. Sometimes insight makes things a bit easier to understand. Of course, your experience may differ greatly but I’ll bet it doesn’t.

I dont remember getting it this bad in the previous marathons but perhaps I've wiped them from my memory

Monday, April 13, 2009


An enforced strong taper this week. Woke up Tuesday morning feeling flu'ey, and remembering the adage that you cant gain anything in last 2 weeks training, I ended up doing a total of 37km this week. It worked, and I felt fine by Friday

Tues pm - 8.3k @4:50 - very light jog down to watch intervals and then home again, and to wish sugar and sas good luck
Wed pm 7.7k@ 4:05 - a little too fast - supposed to be MP
Fri am 9k@ 4:13 - farewell run round herdsman
Sat pm 12k@ 4:18 - happier with this, after first 2k ran at MP without going too fast

Luckily I've been distracted by moving house this week - haven't thought much about the marathon. I need to get used to running through the mean streets of Dalkeith for the next year until the house is built.

Canberra forecast - fine 6-19 degrees C

Feeling OK - plantar fasciitis has flared for some reason in the right foot, but I can run through this

Good luck Sugar, Sas and Biscuitman

This week - ran 9k today, will probably only run twice more before the race.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

2 weeks to go

Short and fast week this week - 81k@4:22

Mon 10.7k@ 4:33 easy
Tues 12k@ 4:10 - intervals 10x400m (or a bit shorter as the track had to be changed)
Did most at 79sec, took it a little easier than usual, although that's hard for me

Wed 10.1k@ 4:17 - MP run after the first k
Thurs rest
Friday 13k, with 10k tempo in 39:25
Sat 10k@4:30 - progression run
Sunday 24k @ 4:30 - medium run with Rob, long break in the middle at the 5k mark of the bridges. Did a few MP km in the second half

My inability to hold back in races stopped me from considering the Bridges today - probably a good thing because had I been running, I probably would have killed myself trying to keep up with Biscuitman and Sugar (and would likely have failed to). Great run!!!

The tough thing from here on in is holding back. I expect I'll do most of my running at MP in the next couple of weeks, so I just need to really limit the kms. If you see me out there running - tell me to stop and go home.

On the shoe front, I've gone off the speedstars and will probably go back to a known quantity - the 2110s - old, heavier but I've run all 5 road marathons in these so they are a known quantity.
Once the marathon is over I'm going to experiment with Newtons - I think when I run tempo pace or faster these days I'm more a midfoot striker.